Two killed as violence, vote buying trail Kogi by-election

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Two persons lost his life at a polling unit in Lokoja, yesterday, after attempting to disrupt the process by snatching the ballot box at the unit during the Lokoja-Kogi bye-election.

An eyewitness account said the deceased, believed to be a political thug, had successfully snatched a ballot box before youths at the unit, who were opposed to the disruption, intercepted him and retrieved the ballot box.

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It was further gathered that, while the mob descended on the thug, a gun in his pocket triggered off and killed him on the spot.

Confirming the incidence, the Police Public Relations Officer, Williams Ayah, said the thug, who wanted to snatch a ballot box, was beaten to death, adding that he was not aware that it was a short gun in his pocket that killed him.

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While disclosing that the body of the deceased had been deposited in the mortuary, Ayah said the police was still carrying out investigation and assured that efforts were on to arrest those involved in the killing.

The Lokoja/Kogi federal constituency bye-election, following the death of former deputy majority leader in the House of Representatives, was marred by violence, vote buying and outright intimidation.

Although opposition parties accused the ruling party in the state of instigating the violence, there have been accusation and counter-accusation along the divide on who really wanted to breach the process.

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Governor Yahaya Bello had accused two former governors of importing thugs from Bayelsa and Nassarawa States, just as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the election, Bashiru Gegu, noted that though the election was running smoothly, reports reaching him gave cause for concern.

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He said in Lokoja at ward B Paparanda Polling Unit, government officials led thugs to disrupt the election, carting away the ballot box and destroying almost everything in sight.

In Paparanda and Karaworo voting units in Lokoja metropolis l, there were reports of heavy intimidation and harassment of voters by government agents and political appointees and a PDP stalwart, Mohammed Balga, was said to have been beaten black and blue.

In ward B, some people, dressed in police uniform with red beret, were said to have besieged two polling units, shooting sporadically and carting away the voting materials.

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There were also reported sharp practices at the Osuku Primary School voting unit in Kotokarfi Local government area, as there were reported sporadic gunshots to scare away opposition party from coming out to vote.

As at 11.30am, when reporters visited the place, there was no single person that was allowed to vote, as those who came out were only allowed to do accreditation, so voting could be done in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

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